You know how when you’re in significant pain, that’s all you think about? And you tell yourself that if/when you get out of that pain, you will remember what it was like when you were in pain, and you will be extra thankful. But then the Lord relieves your pain, and you get about your work again, and you forget how bad it was. That’s how it is with a lot of things when we’re not in the middle of them, or in not the middle of helping/counseling/equipping someone who is.
When it comes to being single (and I’m not necessarily equating pain with singleness, though singleness does have challenges/burden), and especially single in a community that has a lot of spouses, and that talks about the family and the household, and maybe even more especially when single in a broader culture that loves to make sexual immorality seem like an identity, a status symbol, the “good life,” things are hard.
What do you do? There are a number of things, and I’m focusing on Paul’s instructions in 1 Thessalonians 4, that God’s will doesn’t change no matter the challenges.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:3–8, ESV)
This is addressed to the church, including married people, but it seems especially important for those who aren’t yet.
Sanctified sexuality is personal—that each one know how to control his own body. It is communal—that no one transgress and defraud his brother; how you behave affect the rest of the body. And it is theological, as in, a concern to God who has sent His Spirit to dwell in us—the Lord is the avenger in these things.
Christian, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God with your sexuality. Glorify God in your consecrated contentment while praying and waiting for God to provide a spouse. Glorify God in any relationship as you pursue finding out if you should be his/her spouse.
Parents, you also glorify God as you encourage your kids to be holy. It is part of our parental responsibility to help our kids acknowledge that as they pursue a good and God-given thing there are more important things than being “cute.” Maybe the couple is cute, but are they holy? They are not their own to do with whatever they want, nor are they their boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s property. They are the Lord’s first. Grandparents, too, can help as we think generationally about God’s will being sanctification.